By Raven10 2 Comments
Free to Play (F2P) games have gotten quite a bit of hate from the gaming community. And rightfully so. Many F2P games are ruined with a pay to win model that makes them actually far more expensive than a normal $60 boxed game. That in and of itself sucks, but even if I had limitless amounts of money I still wouldn't like the system. For me, a lot of the fun in a game is unlocking everything. The proverbial carrot on a stick is what makes many games fun. One of the key reasons behind the success of Call of Duty is that persistent unlock system that constantly gives you rewards for playing well. If I could just pay $50 to unlock everything *cough*Battlefield 3*cough* then the game wouldn't be fun anymore. I don't find any joy in paying extra money to slaughter everyone. Once I've reached that point then for me the game is finished. I'm good enough. I don't need to play anymore. Mastering a game is a major aspect of the fun. Without it the game is no longer appealing to me.
So about a week ago I had a hankering to play a multiplayer shooter. It was probably brought on by the release of CS: GO. I decided that I didn't really want to pay $15 for another version of Counter Strike though, so I decided that I would try a F2P shooter. The most popular one was Team Fortress 2 but that had been out for so long I thought that most people would be a ton better than me at this point. So I decided to go with Tribes: Ascend. I had never played Tribes before, but the game had gotten great reviews and a ton of people seemed to like it.
To my surprise Tribes turned out to not be a pay to win shooter. It did have a persistant unlock system, but unlocks could be earned just by playing the game, and very few of the unlocks were all around better than what you started with. Most unlocks offered a different variation of the same weapon. So a grenade launcher might do more damage but have less of a splash radius. The basic equipment was always good enough to stay competitive and equipment leveled up as you played so even the most basic weapons would eventually prove worthwhile.
In addition, the game was pretty damn fun. Tribes is all about speed. You can "skate" along the ground at breakneck speeds and all classes have a jetpack that can fly you around the map with ease. Assault rifles and snipers are all but useless in this game. You'll never be able to carry a bead on a player long enough to take him out. Most weapons are explosive weapons. Shooting is all about predicting where you opponent will be in 5 seconds and firing at that spot. Jetpacks have limited power so it's important to keep track of your power level. Standing on the ground is a surefire way to die. And most bases are elevated and require you to fly up to them.
Now I like playing the Capture The Flag mode. You also have a basic team deathmatch and a capture and hold mode. I enjoy playing a technician because I suck at shooting. This engineer like role sees me keeping the base up and running. It's a common role in class based shooters with a slight twist here. See every base has a generator that powers defenses, and well as deployables like force fields, mines, and turrets. Without these a game is all but lost. So in addition to taking the flag, your goal in the game is also to destroy the generator. And my goal as a technician is to repair it and defend it. To do this technicians are armed with turrets and later with mines. I rarely get a kill with my measly SMG. But my job isn't to kill people as much as it is to fix things when the enemy destroys them. It's a pretty fun class that I honestly had never tried in another shooter. And I found it to be very enjoyable here in part because of just how important base defenses and deployables are in winning a game. I get more experience as a technician with a K/D of 0.3 or so than I do as an assault class with a K/D of 2.0+.
So overall I'm really enjoying the game. In fact I enjoyed it so much I spent $10 to unlock some stuff so I could show my support to the development team. Again, none of what I unlocked was significantly better than what I already had. And all of it could have been unlocked after a couple weeks of playing, but it gave me more options and gave me a chance to support a game I have found I really enjoy despite my preconceptions about free to play games and multiplayer shooters. If you have a chance this weekend give the game a try. It's free and it's double XP this weekend as well. It truly deserves everyone's support.